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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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RIFF Film Club invites entries for Student Smartphone Short Film Contest

RIFF Film Club invites entries for Student Smartphone Short Film Contest It's a great opportunity for all school as well as college-going students. Entries are invited to empower the story-teller inside the students, through film-making, with smartphones. There are two categories in the contest, i.e. Category A - Juniors (age up to 18 years) & Category B - Seniors (age 18 and above). The top winner from each category will get a direct entry to the Official Selection in the Student...

FIPRESCI-India announces its Grand Prix winner for 2020

FIPRESCI-India announces its Grand Prix winner for 2020 FIPRESCI-India (India chapter of the International Federation of Film Critics: FIPRESCI) declared the Tamil Feature Film Nasir, directed by Arun Karthick, as the Winner of the prestigious Grand-Prix-2020, according to a Press Release issued last week, by V.K. Joseph, President, FIPRESCI-India. Members of FIPRESCI-India have voted Nasir as the Best Indian Feature Film of 2020 out of the following TOP-10 films nominated for the final ro...

The Courier, Review: Delivers on time

The Courier, Review: Delivers on time A spy story with no fights, no gadgets, agents who neither carry guns nor seduce each other, The Courier is a hark-back to the genre that can be traced at least to deglamourised espionage outings like The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin, way back in the 60s. It’s not positioned as a competitor for the James Bond or Mission Impossible series, or their spin-offs, and is, in fact, based on a true story. Unwavering focus on the plot, and all round co...

RIFF 7, 2021, 6: Third and Final list of films announced; France to be country of focus

RIFF 7, 2021, 6: Third and Final list of films announced; France to be country of focus The third and the final list of films of the 7th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) was released yesterday, which includes the Kannada film "Avalakki Pavalakki", Directed by Durga Prasad and Produced by Ranjitha Subramanya, "Kagaaz", Directed by Satish Kaushik and Produced by Salma Khan, Nishant Kaushik and Vikas Malu (presented by Salman Khan), a Documentary film, "...

Breaking News in Yuba County, Review: Last one standing gets the millions

Breaking News in Yuba County, Review: Last one standing gets the millions It’s genre-defying film, with a most unlikely protagonist, and several parallel tracks, all intertwined. Re-affirming the myth that, in America, anybody can get away with anything, and that killing and violence are about as common as pizza and burgers, Breaking News in Yuba County makes a messed-up attempt to say that amidst all this mayhem, loyalty to your wife and love for her are values worth cherishing. But it...

IFFI 51, 51: My ‘golden peacock’ moment and the denial of recognition to IFFI Veterans

IFFI 51, 51: My ‘golden peacock’ moment and the denial of recognition to IFFI Veterans It’s not the real thing, only a memento. Nevertheless it is not the lesser for me, in terms of value. How did I come about getting a replica of the much coveted Golden Peacock, which is the main prize at the International Film Festival of India? I was not part of any film shown at IFFI, nor had I contributed in any way, other than writing 51 articles on IFFI 51, attending some 30 film sho...

IFFI 51, 50: Ramin Rasouli’s The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night is based on four true stories

IFFI 51, 50: Ramin Rasouli’s The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night is based on four true stories “The Dogs Didn't Sleep Last Night tells the story of four different lives, driven by different emotions, each person having struggles which are different, yet intertwined. There are many stories around us, both good and bad. I found four stories, and put them together for this movie.”  Director Ramin Rasouli was speaking about his IFFI 51 Film, which he says is based on t...

Oh My Ghost, Review: The suicidal man and the four selfish ghosts who want him to live

Oh My Ghost, Review: The suicidal man and the four selfish ghosts who want him to live Different in many ways from the usual horror ghost dramas, both international and Indian, and even dissimilar to Casper, the Friendly Ghost, Oh My Ghost is a Marathi language film that is interesting in parts, but does not have enough to leave a lasting impression. It uses not one but four ghosts, two each from either gender and with vast differences in ages. At its heart is the tragi-comedy of a luckless, ...

IFII 51, 49: Avijatrik, a sequel to Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar

IFII 51, 49: Avijatrik, a sequel to Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar In an edition where the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) pays tribute to legendary film-maker Satyajit Ray, there was a fitting entry in the Indian Panorama Feature Film section of the festival, which builds on his rich cinematic contribution. Avijatrik, a sequel to Ray’s The Apu Trilogy, often cited as the three greatest films in Indian film history. The trilogy comprises the Bengali films Pather Panchali ...

IFFI 51, 48: Prawaas exhorts people to embrace minimalism

IFFI 51, 48: Prawaas exhorts people to embrace minimalism “Earlier, we used to regard the whole world as one family: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. But now, even the family is not regarded as family. We have to stop running the rat race; we have to stay happy and realise that we can be happy only by helping others.” This is the heartfelt message conveyed by Shashank Udapurkar, Director of the Marathi film Prawaas, which has been screened at the 51st International Film Festival of India, i...

IFFI 51, 47: Is digital detox An Impossible Project?

IFFI 51, 47: Is digital detox An Impossible Project? Put down your phones. Have a digital detox. This is the seemingly impossible invocation made by an IFFI 51 German film, featured under International Cinema, at the 51st International Film Festival of India, being held in Goa. Yes, it may be An impossible Project, as the film title suggests, especially in a world where each second, every sphere of life is influenced by digital technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. Gi...

IFFI 51, 46: 14th February and Beyond--The flip-side of Valentine’s Day

IFFI 51, 46: 14th February and Beyond--The flip-side of Valentine’s Day Valentine's Day is tampering with the mental well-being of our society. This is the emphatic and unequivocal message given by The 14th February & Beyond, an IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Non Feature Film, in the words of Director Utpal Kalal. "The film explores the commercialised nature of this highly capitalised day". He was addressing a press conference at the 51st International Film Festival of India ...

IFFI 51, 45: Aavartan is an attempt to showcase kathak in the time of item dances

IFFI 51, 45: Aavartan is an attempt to showcase kathak in the time of item dances Renuka, a disciple of Kathak maestro Bhawna Saraswati, begins to add a new dimension to the dance form she inherited from her. This puts Bhawna in a state of insecurity and identity crisis. Not knowing how to deal with her emotional self, she starts dejecting Renuka, making it painful for Renuka. Renowned Kathak Dancer Padma Shri Shovana Narayan has played the role of Bhawna Saraswati in the film Aavartan, whic...

IFFI 51, January 16-24, 44: Press Conference of Vera Moura and Joao Pedro Mamedi, stars of Moral Order

IFFI 51, January 16-24, 44: Press Conference of Vera Moura and Joao Pedro Mamedi, stars of Moral Order Women tried to find their voice in society, facing existential struggles, in the early half of 20th century Europe. Providing a window into their lives is Mario Barroso’s Portuguese movie, Moral Order, which has had its World Premiere, in the World Panorama section of 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), in Panaji, Goa. In 1918, Maria Adelaide Coelho, heiress and owner ...

RIFF 7, 05: Pride of Rajasthan Award to go to producer Om Chhangani

RIFF 7, 05: Pride of Rajasthan Award to go to producer Om Chhangani The 7th edition of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), accredited by the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI-North Region) will be organised by the RIFF Film Club, in a Hybrid Format, from 20 to 24th March 2021 in Jaipur and Jodhpur, Rajasthan - India. This year, the theme for the RIFF 2021 is "Music in Cinema". RIFF 2021 will also celebrate the Pre Foundation Day of Rajasthan. The Founder, Di...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 43: Malayalam film Thahira; struggles of a partially deaf woman and a visually impaired man

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 43: Malayalam film Thahira; struggles of a partially deaf woman and a visually impaired man “Thahira’s never-give-up attitude towards life helped in taking care of her sisters’ education and marriages. She also constructed a house with her hard-earned money, after her family lost everything due to her father's debts”. The Malayalam feature film ‘Thahira’, under IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Feature Film section, tells the story of a r...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 42: Investing in Life chronicles survival in unfavourable conditions

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 42: Investing in Life chronicles survival in unfavourable conditions “A film on survival of every living being in unfavorable situations like social boycott, road accidents and man-animal conflict.” This is how Vaishali Vasant Kendale, director of ‘Investing Life’, describes her 52-minute non-feature film, produced by Films Division, that was screened at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI). In the post-screening press conference...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 41: The Domain spans several decades of Portuguese history

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 41: The Domain spans several decades of Portuguese history "The Domain (A Herdade) took about 10 years to make. Through the intimate view of a family, it shows a glimpse of the Portuguese society before and after the Carnation revolution that ended the dictatorship we were living in. It is a very special film for us, the makers. The movie portrays the reality of certain families which existed in South Portugal. The idea came from a very deep desire of producer Pau...

IFFI 51, 26-24 January, 40: Mehrunisa is an Austrian film on feudal India and a rebellious old actress

IFFI 51, 26-24 January, 40: Mehrunisa is an Austrian film on feudal India and a rebellious old actress Mehrunisa screams loud against the male-dominated Indian film industry. In the film, the Umrao Jaan fame actress Farrukh Jaffar has played the role of an 80-year-old actress, who boldly tells the audience to follow their dreams, and that age doesn't matter 'Mehrunisa', the Austrian film in Hindi (Urdu really) language and the Mid-Fest Film at the 51st International Film Festival...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 39: Street artiste Shantabai, at 85, performs high-risk acts

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 39: Street artiste Shantabai, at 85, performs high-risk acts “Our film Shantabai explores the journey of street artiste Shantabai Pawar, who continues to perform even at 85 years of age, and thus helps keep the legacy of Dombari community, in Maharashtra, alive. It is a documentary film on a dying art form, from which the lead actor Shantabai makes a living in her real life as well”. Director Pratik Gupta said this, while addressing a press conference in Go...

Our Friend, Review: Cancer kills, friendship lives

Our Friend, Review: Cancer kills, friendship lives Several things are going right for this American true story. Slice of life characters, casting, a lead actress who looks really beautiful enough to justify the lead actor calling her the ‘most beautiful he has ever seen’, credible performances, locales shot from all angles, having its heart in the right place, generating heart-wrenching emotions, just that touch of humour, portraying an almost perfect marriage, as against divorced...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 38: Pierre Filmon’s Long Time No See was realised after ten years, but took only five days to shoot

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 38: Pierre Filmon’s Long Time No See was realised after ten years, but took only five days to shoot They were meeting after nine long years of separation. They had eighty minutes to rewind their journey, re-evaluate their lives, to face their truth, regrets and memories. And, this is their last chance. In a nut-shell, the story of the French movie ‘Long Time No See (Entre Deux Trains)’ can be described like this. Directed  and scripted by Pierre...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 37: Acasa-The System and the eco-system

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 37: Acasa-The System and the eco-system “For 20 years, they, the family with nine children, lived in harmony amidst nature, in a place which was long-forgotten though it was close to the city. But fate had some other plans when the Romanian authorities initiated steps to award protection status to that area. My documentary Acasa – My Home portrays the journey of this family, who were forced to adopt city life after eviction from their cocoon in the wilderne...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 33: Holy Rights and a Muslim woman marriage priest

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 33: Holy Rights and a Muslim woman marriage priest “Holy Rights documents the movement against triple ‘talaaq’, it portrays Muslim women’s struggles to break free of patronising voices within the community as well as resist external forces against appropriating their movement to suit their own political agenda. Though the film talks about the Muslim community in particular, I believe it's an all-pervasive one, on the problem of exploitation ...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 36: Gandhi and the power of the powerless

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 36: Gandhi and the power of the powerless The IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Non Feature film 'Ahimsa - Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless' decodes the power of non-violence and why it remains relevant to this day. It brings to the fore the global impact of the Gandhian message of non-violence: how it inspired several world leaders, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States; the Solidarity Movement in Poland as well as Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid strugg...

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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